Bob-n-Along, Sunday, Feb. 21, 1999
What would you consider the biggest event of the second
You may consider this a strange topic for me to be
using on February 21, but I have a few things to say about the end of 1999
... the end of a century ... especially the end of a millennium.
In past years during my experiences as a journalist
(whether as a newspaperman or in broadcasting ) when the end of the year
approached, I'd take part in selecting the top news stories of that particular
year. It was a challenge, because all too often there would be two, three
or more events deserving of the top spot.
Can you just imagine what it's going to be like
as 1999 goes on? The top stories of the year will pale in comparison with
the top stories of the 20th century ... which may pale in comparison with
the big events of 1001-1999.
Who knows, maybe there'll be an event this year
that will fit in one of the two categories other than top story of 1999.
I suppose it would have to depend on whether one was considering the
top events in the United States or in the world in general. I would be
partial toward including occurrences around the globe, not just this nation,
great as it is.
Some might say that the assassination of John F.
Kennedy in November 1963 would be in the top 10 of the past century. Maybe
in the U.S., but probably not the world. But it would be my guess that
both world wars would rank near the top. I'd also have to say the liberation
of the state of Israel in 1948 would be right up there somewhere.
History is difficult to judge, just as opinions
are. Everyone likely has a different idea of landmark world events and
how they rate. And, of course, it's much easier to remember the happenings
of the past year and the past century than it is to recall (much
less rank) what happened a long, long time ago.
That's why it's going to be tough for people of
the 20th century, other than historians, to come up with a list of events
between 1001 and, say, 1899.
The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus?
Highly doubtful. What does someone in Norway or Thailand care about that,
other than for Norwegians to argue that it was not Columbus, but Leif Erikson
who really discovered this continent first?
Get my drift?
So, then, what could we think of that would begin
to fill a sheet of paper from such a tremendous expanse of time? The Battle
of Hastings in 1066? The Peloponessian War, maybe? Perhaps the Magna Carta?
The formation of this new nation in 1776? Super Bowl III?
I t's going to take some researching and then some
serious comparison of what has really affected our world. I must admit
that I'm a trifle stumped at what my suggestions would be. Hopefully later
in the year I will have begun to formulate a list of the biggies of the
Who out there might have some ideas that might vie
for a Top 20 list of world events between 1001 and 1999? If you do, send
them along. I'd like to see them.
Just remember, my challenge is for WORLD events,
not those simply limited to the United States.
I received a picture postcard a few days ago showing
a photo of the world, bearing the inscription below: "Wish you were here!"
An unemployed man was on the Internet one day. Suddenly
there appeared on the screen of his computer, "You have been idle for a
His response? "How do THEY know?
It reminds me of when I've walked through corridors
of hospitals and have seen the floor charts hanging on the wall. I'd start
with the first floor, then the second, etc., etc., till I got to the top
floor. Each time, the map would say, "You are HERE." How do THEY know?
A thought for the week by someone by the name of Laurence J. Peter,
who said, "Heredity is what sets the parents of a teen-ager wondering about
Bye for now. Another column Monday.
Exponent View, Sunday, Feb. 21, 1999
deserve 12% raise
How many times during the past couple of years have
you read in this newspaper about Clarksburg police officers responding
to dangerous, high-speed chases in our area? Too many times.
How about domestic squabbles turned violent? Armed
robberies? Drug busts? Murders? Too many times.
Granted, and thank God, our area isn't a criminal-infested, living
Hell where it's not safe to walk the streets at night. But crime occurs,
violent crime occurs.
In Clarksburg, the first line of defense against
criminals and crime is the city's police department. And whenever there
is trouble, the residents of Clarksburg can count on the city police to
respond, regardless of the hour, regardless of the risk. Clarksburg's police
officers (like officers in every community) put their lives on the line
for us seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Unfortunately, the residents of Clarksburg and the
leaders of their city government have not been as appreciative of their
police department as they should have been over the years.
Today, as you sip your coffee and read your paper,
Clarksburg's police officers are out on the streets doing their jobs. But
they're underpaid, ill-equipped and there are too few of them.
Consider the following facts:
-Clarksburg has cut staffing levels of its police department by about
25 percent in recent years.
-The department's equipment situation is so bad that some officers
have brought computers from home into the office in order to handle the
volume of paper work they generate while fighting crime.
-Clarksburg's officers are the lowest paid when compared with Bridgeport
officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers. A Clarksburg cop with
nine years of experience earns a base salary of $23,880. A Bridgeport cop
with the same experience earns $29,505. A deputy with the same experience
earns $26,512. Big disparities.
So, to our point -Clarksburg's policemen deserve
big raises. And the city's residents deserve to have policemen protecting
them who don't have to worry about paying the bills or thinking about where
they can go to work part-time to supplement their income.
The 12 percent raise requested last week by the
new police union may, on the surface, seem excessive. But do the math.
Twelve percent for a nine year veteran would bring them up to par with
sheriff's deputies, but still well below what a Bridgeport officer with
the same experience is making. A 12 percent raise for an officer making
$23,880 would raise their base pay to $26,746.
Is that excessive? We don't think so. Not for someone
who is putting his life on the line for us every day.
Think about it, then call your city councilman,
the mayor and City Manager Percy Ashcraft. Tell them that Clarksburg's
police officers deserve better. And tell them that they should not worry
about giving policemen the same raises that policemen get to all other
city workers- most other city workers aren't putting their lives on the
line every day. The parity argument used by Ashcraft is a poor one.
Clarksburg's council members must review spending
priorities carefully, and cut other programs and departments where necessary,
in order to give the city's policemen the support they deserve.
Telegram View, Sunday, Feb. 21, 1999
Lawmakers should ban same-sex marriages
Most of us understand that government can't legislate
morality. It can only try to control behavior that is harmful to individuals
and to society.
So some will question a ban on same-sex marriage
that is part of legislation to rework West Virginia's state marriage law.
Gay activists will say that same-sex marriages harm no one and to ban them
would be an act of prejudice. But we think there is some sense to such
a ban and support the legislation that will be introduced in the House
of Delegates during the next few weeks.
Delegate Steve Harrison, R-Kanawha, has introduced
such legislation unsuccessfully in past years and speaks strongly in favor
of it. This year it appears certain such legislation will make its way
out of the House Judiciary Committee. If it is successful in the House
and Senate then West Virginia will become the 30th state to define marriage
as a union between a man and a woman. "Homosexuality is an immoral and
unhealthy lifestyle," said Harrison. "It's not something our government
should encourage or endorse."
Harrisons comments will certainly offend those
in the gay community and some others. But it does boil down to the moral
sensibilities of a lot of West Virginians who clearly oppose same-sex marriages.
On what basis do we say this? The Charleston Daily
Mail's West Virginia Poll a few years ago asked questions about homosexuality.
Eight out of 10 persons polled agreed that homosexuals should keep their
sexual preferences to themselves. Does that mean
West Virginians are prejudiced? No, because that same poll showed only
three out of 10 West Virginians would limit or end a friendship if they
found out or suspected that a friend was homosexual.
The bottom line is that the majority of West Virginians
are bound by Christian values and don't believe in homosexuality. However,
West Virginians are a tolerant people and don't want to discriminate against
anyone. They just ask that homosexuals don't flaunt their lifestyle in
The proposed law would ban same-sex marriages but
it does not ban same-sex relationships. It simply removes state endorsement
of such relationships. The Legislature should support it.
Telegram Editorial Board member